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Casual Observer
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For years we have used Noritz and I still think they're a wonderful product. Problem is, in our area we're having sedimentation issues due to flash heating. We get black grit coming out of the hot side. Noritz tells us that the issue is water quality and that there are only four areas in the country that have this issue. Noritz is the only one in the area that has this problem due to the way that they superheat the water and then mix it back down, apparently no one else does it this way. So, I'm exploring other tankless options. Rinnai has several carriers in the area so I'd like to offer something different as long as its quality. Takagi has given me problems before so I'm not sure about those. I met with a Navien rep (http://www.navienamerica.com/) and I was very impressed with what they could show me. The rep was a former Noritz rep, so he was well aware of our issues and with our needs. My question for you guys is if any of you have put any of these units in? Did you like them? Were they crap? Is there another tankless you would recommend?
 

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Always Something
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1,369 Posts
I've done them and they do have their positive uses. Basically you're talking about a condensing heater verses a traditional tankless heater. As far as I know all the std tankless heaters all use the bypass function. Point is, they are two totally different heaters. They cost more and require a drain for the condensation. The PH levels of that water (highly acidic) can also require the inline use of a PH ballancer. Navian recommends discharging into a washing machine drain as the soap helps neutralize the high PH content. Issues of plastic versus cast drainage lines is also something to consider.

There are solutions to your issue...as I have delt with similar situations. Noritz is correct in telling you it is really an issue with the incomming water quality and mineral content. You mentioned "Black Grit"....do you know what it actually is? What is the mineral makeup of your particular area? What temp are you setting the tankless heaters to? What kind of sediment are you seeing when you drain out old tanked heaters?

I gotta get back to another member of this site about a similar topic...but I gotta take my kid to the batting cages right now than a movie!!! Gotta love V day. I'll do my best to get back to you both tonight.
 

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Casual Observer
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, I gotta go change a diaper and then feed my wife but I'll try to get that info to you later on.
 

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LeMarr Plumbing, Inc.
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772 Posts
Thanks guys, I gotta go change a diaper and then feed my wife but I'll try to get that info to you later on.
:laughing::laughing:

Tankless, Way to go on the batting cages and movie:thumbsup:

I talked to a good friend north of me, who start (I think these) putting these in. If these are it, he likes them over all that he has put in.

In Christ,

Song Dog
 

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Registered
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200 Posts
I went to a meeting on the Navien Thursday nite...seems like very nice unit. I have 2 sold so I will let you guys know how they go. 1 to install this week.
 

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Always Something
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1,369 Posts
this is a bit long, but read it anyways

I have installed about ...maybe 13 or 15 of them. I like them for recurlation lines as it is less expensive to go that route than the current way I do them. Some of the pros:
Inrternal 1 gal storage tank. When HO wants a small demand the unit does not need to fire up. Water is drawn from the mini tank, therfore no more minimum draw of .5 gpm or .7 on other tankless units. Pro: recirc line is built in and self monitors, this is good because the check the pump and thermisters are all covered under the factory warranty of...think it's 5 years now and 15 on the exchanger. Pro: .98% efficiency. Avg temp of exhaust is about 70-80f. 3" PVC venting with the hopes of getting it reduced down to 2". It's been a little while so maybe that is now allowed. I haven't talked with my tech in a few months. Pros: no distance to combustables with venting, making remods and NC much more acceptable, especially in areas where OD units are not a good idea. Pros: very quiet - biggest unit uses 199.9 kbtu's. and can be paired up for greater demand.
Venting, if your lucky enough to have a situation where you have 4" round b vent, you can sleeve the 3" PVC within. Again, I have only seen this once.

Cons:
Remote is a POS. Not intuitive and lame to say the least.
Main PCB (printed circuit board) leaves much to be desired. Full of dip switches and a 4 digit clock counter. The MPCB is not designed very well nor is it very advanced. An IPOD has more tech than their boards do.
rubber tubes...lots of them running all over the place. Caution for high temp install locations...you will be replacing these in time. Multi diaphrams...I haven't studied the design well enough in fine detail to grasp the need for it, but these are parts that will NOT last 25 years.
The overall layout is a bit forign to me. I don't specialize in these but like I said before they have their uses. As like any company that innovates and creates new tech...it will have its bumps. And Navien has them. This company has fair tech support and that is a gift. The CO web site is up...down...up...down.
Longer venting runs create alot of condensate...Navien claims the condensate can re-enter the unit and will just drain out of the condensate drain.
I have a unit that I got called back to that is rusting from within. What a friggin headach and my client has no hot water for two days while I wait on a new flow sensor that basically cracked and fell apart. Absolutly horrible design in the flow sensor. Nickle plated steel parts within all rusted out. Rust expanded and cracked the impeller.....sigh.....

As I told some reps from Navien a while ago...it's a good idea, what they are trying to do, the engineering is just not there. The design is very vintage Takagi...and that ain't too good. I will wait a while and see how they progress, I am in no hurry to sell them unless I have my full confidence in them. I get PM all the time from members here and CT a while back about why Noritz is my go to heater.....because my clients won't be without hot water for two days, 8 months after their installation. it's rock solid designing and engineering. Every 3-8 months they have made more and more tweeks to a great design to make it that much better. Understand this people, we are talking about nuts and bolts here. TK's Ranaii's and noritz uniots all spec out pretty much the same....sorta, they operate under the same block principals of flow control, so we (I) look more into the fine details and TK's are not impressive.....at all. If you like them...Right on, this is just my POV. Ranaii's are closly similar to Noritz, just spec out a bit lower. If you look at the design changes over the past few years they look more and more like a Noritz. This goes with out mentioning Noritz licenses' out parts to TK and Ranaii because Noritz built it first and owns the patents. Noritz condensing units are new to market too. They spec similar to Navien but have the noritz engineering. They also cost more and do not have the built in recirc system. I charge about a grand to do what the Navien unit does...so again that is why I say it has its places.

From some guy who installs a bunch of tankless heaters and study's the design, I am not 100% sold on Navien. Will I sell them? yeah....my kids cost alot, I am not so almighty with my nose in the air as to not support my own business. I will continue to sell them because they have a great warranty. What pisses me off more than me wasting 3 hrs troublshooting is leaving my clients with out hot water. I have NEVER had a Noritz that I installed go down and I have installed close to some 300 of these damn things. Well, may like 280 ish, I like to be as accurate as I can. Exaggeration is a pet peeve of mine.

Will I offer them to clients as an option? Nope. I will bring it up when cost becomes a factor...like long venting. Cat III vs. 3" PVC plays a big roll in deciding to relocate or not. Recirculation systems plays a role in my choice on what to offer the client. If I can sell a conventional tankless job at 5000 or a Navien for 3200....again, my kids gotta eat too. I don't want to price myself off a job. These are important things for guys who want to become good at this to understand. It's a fine line between making money and selling a hi Q product. As I told Smells, the majority of my new clients are all referrals. I hate the phone book, I hate the clientel from the phone book. I'd rather not deal with every penny pinching HO that exists. I personally taylored my business to a slightly higher end market. Sure I'll work on little cracker jack houses...I also work on houses drop dead amazing. But I want the higher end, more demanding client. I charge for it, may as well give them what they paid for. With a Noritz I get that done. I don't have all day long to piss off on heaters that don't work. I NEED that 99-100% non failure rate to be sucessfull. Not because of the time I spend omn the repair (I actually really love the challenge) but because I can't ever have a client of mine think anything bad or dissappointment about their tankless experience. This is how I build customers for life. While my Navien client today was very understanding I was livid inside. I spent almost 2 hrs trying to fix that POS impeller. It stopped spinning, therefore would not produce a call to ingnite. No call to ignite, no hot water.....Totally unacceptable and it was my choice to offer it to him, therefor it was my fault.
Mind you I had already installed 3 for the company reps (on their dime) so I had some faith in the product when I did sell it to my client. Things like what happened today are taboo in my book. My master plumber who trained me told me if I ever left a house without water overnight, I should get my ass kicked. It was taboo. He didn't much care about hot water, just running cold. I am that way about cold AND hot. There was just nothing I could do to get it running.

Maybe today isn't the best day for me to give my thoughts on Navien. i don't know, what do ya think?
 

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Casual Observer
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Tankless! This is great info. I'm going to do a little more checking and then I'm sure I'll have some more questions for you. I really do appreciate the time you took to share this.
 

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Always Something
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1,369 Posts
No worries. Now, mind you this was a unit installed 8 months ago. There have been 19 different revisions to the mother board.
3 revisions to the flow sensor.
An upgrade on a gas vent blow off feeder tube and a few other silly smaller things.
I replaced that flow sensor this morning after tech support forgot to **** out my much needed part. As I was told...it just fell to the side. So I go to test the flow sensor and it's working. But the unit will still not fire. After tech support told me he was just going to send me a new fan, new mobo, and about 4 or 5 other major components....I was told to just start replacing them until the thing worked.

I stopped him at that point. I couldn't hear anymore of it. I got out the electrical diagram and started testing different systems and alot of electronics, it was kinda hard. I used to be really good at that but with Noritz I haven't had a big need to do this kind of troublshooting. Anyhow I found a 3kohm 10watt resistor that cracked and it was kaput. I built a new one for temporary and made tech support overnight / saturday delivery a new board.

I can't imagine the average plumber having to deal with a problem like this.....just start changing out parts until it starts working. I don't know about you all, but I don't do things like that.
 

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Plumbing and Gas SCO
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1,437 Posts
Wow, tankless I gotta say, you seem to uphold the standard we should all strive to attain. I have never tested resistors. I probably could if I tried, but I have never given it any thought. Now I have. I enjoy being able to fix things that others scratch their heads at. Now I have an idea of where I stand.

With the focus on tankless heaters we have today, have you ever thought about publishing a troubleshooting manual or anything to that effect? I love to learn and would probably enjoy learning what you have to offer.

I realize that with the open format of this message board you would be shooting yourself in the foot with potential customers or DIY'ers who are trying to get themselves in trouble so I will not ask you to post anything technical here. However, if you ever publish, let me know where to send the cheque.
 

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Always Something
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1,369 Posts
Thanks....I thought about doing a more specified...article or maybe a page or something but on specific issues that I typically see based on "average" installs that I walk up on. In terms of it being useful information I thought that would be a wiser way to approach it. And yes I don't want to post something like that up for the free world to see. Semi handy DIY's can very easily destroy their units or create a hazard...especially when trouble shooting gas / manifold supply pressures.

I figure sooner or later all of us are gonna get that call to fix them. Waiting on hold for tech support gets very expensive and you have a 60 / 40 chance of making real progress. That's the idea behind doing problem specific issues. The methods are the same for all the tankless heaters. There are some pretty big differences with the condensing units. I think in 2010 I will really start pushing them. I hate being the guy to test the new stuff.

Thanks for the comments...would you know my most hated classes in H.S. and college was writing and lit. Just seemed so boring to me. I shoulda been a professional baseball player...Florida is nice this time of year!!
 

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Tankless, good notes on Naviens etc. We to are

very respective of our clients comfort. We really dislike having to leave them ever with heat or hot water. I was just looking into the Navien CR as an engineer has specd one on a job and I am always a little leary. We usually tend to lean towards condensing boilers and smallish indirect stainless water heaters for our jobs but sometimes a tankless is a more cost effective solution. Only draw back is tankless heaters are not near as serviceable as the condensing boilers we use. Again, thanks for the input. Tim
 

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Support?

I sarted using navien for awhile, but like TANKLESS said lots of board issues(ghost codes). They just kept pumping the extra parts out. Now the said they will give me new complete units to replace....jeez, now what.

I used the navien heat box with a rinnai for the first time(500ft sq floor heat) and 2 full baths. ho is very pleased. Fingers crossed.

I will try noritz for first time with gen con that heard they were good in condo projects. Hope so.
 

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Appreciation

Thank you very much for posting your comments on various tankless system experiences.

I'm interested in the Navien due to possibly pairing a CR-240A with a Lifebreath CAF in Ottawa Ontario, Canada. I can't find any other tankless system that will provide similar results with both hydronics and Domestic water at such a EF rating.

Another year has passed since you last commented on the Navien and I am curious to the advances if any on this CR-240A and in your opinion as a viable system for both hydronics and domestic HW.

Thanks in advance
 

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stevenrandell

This is a forum for Plumber only, it appears you are not one. Please go ask your question at diychatroom.com
 

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Navien Units

We've put plenty of these units in. Commercial and Residential. They are fairly new to the states so they're customer service is lacking, but the units perform very well and the PVC flue piping comes in real handy. They require a condensate drain (and they do condensate a lot). Be sure to watch the dip switch settings when you install, they have to be correct. Easy to do, but easy to forget. Good Luck
 
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